Planning Board grants special permit for medical marijuana facility

Dec 19, 2017

A company proposing a medical marijuana facility in Dartmouth hopes to be ready to break ground next year after securing a special permit from the Planning Board to move forward.

At its December 18 meeting, the Planning Board approved the special permit application for the Elevated Access Center. The facility is planned as a two story building at 508 Faunce Corner Road, according to Rebecca Adams, the company's executive director.

Securing the special permit was the next step for Elevated Non-Profit Corporation, which had previously received the green light from the Select Board to move forward at the September 11 Select Board meeting. At that meeting, the board voted 4-1 to submit a letter of non-opposition for the project.

At that meeting, Adams detailed the group's vision for the facility. In addition to marijuana cultivation and sales to medical patients, it will also include a wellness center offering yoga, meditation, and nutrition health programs.

At that time, Adams said the group is committed to only operating as a medical marijuana facility, and does not plan on offering recreational sales.

Under town zoning bylaws, the project required the approval of a special permit for construction. Facilities are only permitted within the town's office industrial or general industrial districts.

With approval, Adams said the company will now come up with designs and drawings for building plans, with the goal of breaking ground by March.

Planning Board members offered their input for building design once the plans are ready for site plan review.

“Site plan reviews now include an architectural review,” said member John Sousa. “Take a look at those guidelines… I hear prefabricated building, and some of those can be quite ugly and plain.”

Member Joseph Toomey said he’d be particularly concerned about building security. Adams noted that the full plans will be sent to the Department of Public Health and the Dartmouth Police Department, and both must also approve its security plan.

The approval of a special permit for Elevated Access means two other medical marijuana facilities also proposed along Faunce Corner Road will be unable to proceed at their originally pitched locations.

Town bylaws disallow facilities within 4,000 feet between them, and due to the layout of the zoning districts only one facility would have been able to be built on Faunce Corner Road.

Another facility could build in a portion of the New Bedford Business Park within Dartmouth, but Hansen said it is unlikely due to a lack of available space.

The Select Board had previously signed a letter of non-opposition with Coastal Compassion, LLC for a 6,200 square foot dispensary at 529 Faunce Corner Road, and signed a host agreement with the William Noyes Webster Foundation in 2016.

It is unclear what the status of the other two proposals are. Hansen said the board has not received any plans from either of the two facilities.

Jane Heatley, president of the William Noyes Webster Foundation, initially leased space at 508 Faunce Corner Road and planned to open in the spring of 2017. In February 2017, she announced a change of location to 350 Faunce Corner Road.